Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Katib/Flash90
Palestinian boys stand behind mock jail bars during a rally calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on April 20, 2014.

However, when the Palestinian Authority entered Judea and Samaria after the Oslo Accords, there were instances in which Palestinian security forces imprisoned men and sexually blackmailed their wives. They promised the women early release for their husbands and then claimed the women had given themselves of their own free will, leaving Palestinian public perception with a residue of suspicion. Today there are reports of tragedies since apparently a few women married to security prisoners secretly chose sexual freedom over fidelity to their husbands or divorce, and decided not to wait endlessly until their husbands were released.

Female security prisoners have told me that many women who needed help from the Palestinian Authority were often offered help in return for sexual favors.


The basic lack of trust and faith involved deeply affects the morale of the prisoners, and they guard the honor of their wives lest they leave them. Prisoners who successfully smuggled sperm out of jail knew that it was the only stage of the process which they could monitor. Even wanted terrorists pursued by the Israeli security forces began freezing their sperm so that if they died as shaheeds they would not be denied fatherhood. It’s an unusual concern, because shaheeds are promised the ability to have children in Paradise. The new approach of artificial insemination using smuggled sperm destroys the ancient conservative Palestinian convention of intimacy as proof of fatherhood, and thus the identity of the father will always be uncertain, as will the degree of fidelity of wives or the possibility of their sexual exploitation.

Over the years, it has been shown that imprisonment does not isolate the security prisoners and they continue as respected members of their external environment, with influence and the ability to foment unrest in Palestinian society. Now it appears that they can even have children while in jail. However, despite the terrorists’ sensation of achievement when their families grow, and their sense of victory at having fooled the Israeli prison authorities, there are those who say that it is nothing more than a cover story or a “respectable” way to solve problems of family honor and hide incest and sexual conduct considered deviant by the patriarchal Palestinian family.

Originally published at The Investigative Project on Terrorism.


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Anat Berko, Ph.D, a Lt. Col. (Res) in the Israel Defense Forces, conducts research for the National Security Council, and is a research fellow at the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Israel. She was a visiting professor at George Washington University and has written two books about suicide bombers, "The Path to Paradise," and the recently released, "The Smarter Bomb: Women and Children as Suicide Bombers" (Rowman & Littlefield)


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